Ancient Chinese Empires spans from 2852 BC to 1622 AD. There were many great emperors including Fu His which claims that he introduced his people to the arts of music, writting, and painting; the custom of marriage; the skills for catching fish with nets and domesticating animals; and, significantly, the art of feeding silkworms and extracting the fiber that was common in China but worth its weight in gold in Europe. The emperor after Fu His introduced agriculture, the plow, and the use of plants as medicines. The third of these emperors was Huang-ti who introduced the magnet, the wheel, and the technology of building with brick. The Chinese Architecture the resulted dynasties later included: mortise-and-tenon construction, no significant foundation, colored roof tiles with each building type having a “correct” color, dragons symbolizing imperial China, small figures of roof ridges for protection, guardian figures at entrances finials at the ends of roofs ridges, and elaborate gateways.








The Shou- Long Life

The Five Bats- Represnts the Five Blessing





A easy death


Public Building types- This includes pagodas, shrines, temples, monasteries, mausoleums, commercial structure, and imperial palaces, both urban and country.





Imperial Palaces


Site Orientation- They are chosen and planned practically and spiritually. Structures orient to the south , toward the sun, and away from the cold, north fromwhich barbarians may come.

Gateways- Chinese architecture is noteworthy  for its variety of gateways. Varying in size, they serve a important focal points of entry and emphasize procession along a linear axis.

Floor plans- Plans are modular, consisting of rooms and  courtyards, which can be added or subtracted at will. Function and respect for tradition grovern the placement of individual rooms.

Materials- Buildings stand on foundations of earth with terraces of marble, brick, or stone. Wooden or stone columns rise stone bases. Columns may be round, square,octagonal, or animal shaped.

Facades- Facade design varies from plain to elaborately embellished. Because entries are important, they usually feature decoration and color.


Windows- They are typically rectangular with wooden shutters or grilles.

Doors- They are rectangular, made of paneled wood, and often embellished with carving, painting, and gilding.

Roofs- Upward- curving roofs are a distinguishing festure designed to deter evil spirits. Roofs may be single or double hipped or gabled on important buildings; occasionally they are flat. Ceramic roof tiles in rust, yellow, green, or blue are secured to rafters by fasteners with decorative animal motifs ( chi shou).

Private Buildings- Types primarily include residential dwellings.

Site Orientation- Homes are carefully oriented to the south, usually facing the street anf with nice gardens.

Floor plans- House are centered on one or more courtyards. The main hall or living room and women’s quarters are farthest from the entrance. The hall consists of three space; the main reception room is in center.

Materials- Like public buildings, homes are constructed of impermanent materials. Large homes of finer materials proclaim wealth.

Roofs- They are similar in shape, material, and color tp public building.

Facades- They are generally plain and unembellished. Entrances are recessed and may have inscriptions to ensure happiness and protection.


Public and Private Buildings

Color- Colors are strong and bright because pigments are seldom mixed. The palette includes red, yellow, gold, green, and blue. Walls, columns, doors, and window frames may be red.

Lighting- Courtyard window provide natural light. Lamps give minimal artificial light.

Floors- They may be of dirt, wood, or masonry. Marble floors highlight important rooms in imperial palaces. Felt rugs, mats, and  pile rugs may cover floors.

Walls- They may be plain or partically embellished.

Doors- Doors to courtyards feature fretwork or grilles to intergrate interior and exterior space.

Textiles- Chinese are known for their silks. Traditional motifs such as clouds or the lotus are characteristic.

Rugs-  Chinese rungs differ in colors, density of patterning, and motifs from Middle Eastern rugs. Rugs may be of wool or silk and feature Persian knots with bordersaround an open field.

Ceiling- They may feature repetitive geometric designs with traditional motifs. Large beams that are elaborately carved and painted often divide ceilings into sections.

Furnishings and Decorative Arts

Furniture Types include stools, chairs, couches, beds, chests, cabinets, and tables. The distinctive features are that the legs may be quadrangular with soft corners, circular, elliptical, or cabriole. The hoof foot with a slight inward curve is typical. Furniture generally lines the walls. It may be against or right angles to the wall, but never angles.


Folding Chair



Storage Chests


Wedding Bed

Decorative Arts

Carved lacquerware, bronze and porcelian vases, and collections of jade.


Interiors commonly feature screens, folding or set in a frame. Most screens have inlays of mother-of-pearl and other materials.






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